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Brent Ozar: Either it just started pouring down rain in SFO, or #devdays is being hosted under the world's largest toilet and someone just flushed.

Ikai Lan: Saw a guy next to me fall asleep and dart drooling on himself at #devdays QT talk. Okay, fine, I admit it, it was me (woken by @artemr)

Other twitter #devdays results.

DevDays reviews

I'd like to ask about everyone's reviews of the DevDays San Francisco.

(Not a community wiki on purpose, following previous suggestions.)

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Damnit! That was in my home town! and my schedule was full! DAMN YOU LIFE! DAMN YOU! :( –  LiraNuna Oct 20 '09 at 8:58

7 Answers 7

Okay, this review is a little late... but better late than never. I'll go in order like everyone else:

  • No breakfast - There weren't any large banners or friendly greeters for the conference but we found it. The website and e-mail we received for the conference indicated there would be breakfast but all we found was coffee. We had to run down the street and visit a Safeway to grab something to eat.

  • Keynote by Joel - The videos and his speech were very good and exciting. Joel is a great speaker and seems like a great leader. His general message of "elegant design" was spot on although it's been done before. My fellow developer (Tyler Allen) commented that he saw a similar presentation with the exact same design screen shot examples when we went to Adobe MAX a few weeks earlier. Still great though.

  • Python with Mark Harrison - I've been really interested in Python and Mark showed a single screen of code that implemented a spell checker. I thought it pretty obfuscated and hard to understand by itself but luckily he expanded each line of code into a more readable format and I think everyone was able to follow along. Personally, I felt the code was kind of a brute force approach to spell checking but if it worked why use something more complicated? It just goes to show how fast computers have become where we're able to generate such huge sets of data in memory and throw them away. I enjoyed his presentation and wish he would have had time for more questions.

  • IPhone with Rory Blyth - This was an eye opening presentation. We're a Windows shop but have been looking forward to moving to the Apple platform and dabbling in IPhone applications. Honestly, after seeing what it took to create such a simple application in XCode we were kind of shocked. Simple things like hooking up button click events required dragging and dropping lines from the code file to the controls and then adding further code on the back end to actually implement the events. It may be that we're just spoiled with Visual Studio but the development process seemed pretty horrible and un-intuitive (very non-Apple like). After the XCode example he launched MonoTouch (which we didn't even know existed) and created the same application with a lot less hassle. Very cool.

  • Lunch - The lunch and snacks for the event were pretty good. They had a large variety of Boudin lunches (sourdough sandwiches), cookies, fruit, soft drinks, etc. We sat out in the hall and sat next to Jeff Atwood and Mark Harrison while they were eating lunch. It was interesting to hear Jeff talk about some caching issues with SQL Server queries that I've run into in the past.

  • FogBugz with Joel - I missed this presentation because I was outside getting a demo of the FogBugz software. It's a nice system and we've been attempting to work it into our workflow since visiting the conference.

  • ASP.Net MVC with Scott Hanselman - Scott was a fun presenter. He seemed to poke fun at himself and Microsoft a lot. He acknowledged a lot of the problems and missing features of their MVC framework and while I don't think he converted anyone away from Django or Ruby on Rails he may have pointed out that their MVC framework is a good step up from the standard ASP.Net forms model.

  • Stack Overflow with Jeff Atwood - I wish his presentation was longer and that he would have answered more questions. Everyone was really interested in the Stack Overflow application (obviously) and more time should have been given to covering it.

  • Qt with Daniel Rocha - I'm a long time reader of Slashdot and have heard a lot about Qt and Trolltech in the past. It seems like a major engineering feat to create a cross platform UI framework like Qt. Unfortunately, Nokia seems to have bought up the product and shoehorned it into creating mobile applications. The sample application he was showing off looked horrible compared to current IPhone or Android applications. I think half of the people in the room excused themselves and walked out because the presentation felt so much like an outdated sales pitch and just didn't feel relevant to the current market. Thumbs down.

  • Android with James Yum - I thought James did okay considering he was only given 2 days notice to come up with his presentation. His examples seemed to highlight more of the problem of developing multi-threaded applications than Android applications but I think everyone got the idea. I see now why Apple locks down the IPhone platform so much. I did feel a little shortchanged by this presentation in general. James couldn't answer a lot of questions asked by the audience and seemed kind of inexperienced. I was glad to see that Google hires mortal developers and not just development gods with 30 years of experience and triple doctorates on their resume. It gives me hope that maybe one day I could apply there.

  • jQuery with Yehuda Katz - I was kind of disappointed in this presentation because it felt like an introduction to jQuery. I was hoping to learn some advanced techniques. About the only thing I gained from it was that the 1.4 release would let me reference the $(this) object for each element without having to do a .each() loop. Oh well, still a good primer for anyone without jQuery experience and a nice presentation.

Overall, I thought the conference went very well and showcased a good number of technologies. I look forward to attending it again next year!

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My review of the San Francisco Dev Days conference in chronological order.

  • Joel Spolsky: Keynote. The introductory movie was hilarious. This was probably a lot more so for me than for my co-workers who didn't get a lot of the SO podcast references (6-8 weeks, etc), although there was a slight glitch which made a few scenes repeat. Joel's presentation was really well-done and humorous, though as a previous commenter noted, if you've been following Joel's blog for a while, there was not much new. I actually thought that Joel could have also done a better job at highlighting how his design talk correlated with FogBugz (he seemed to hint at this later on, but only briefly - perhaps it would have been best if the keynote was merged with FogBugz)

  • Mark Harrison: Python. I really enjoyed this talk. It was basically a dissection of Peter Norvig's Spell Checker. It might have been boring for those who knew Python well, but for me being a Python novice, I thought it was really informative and just at the right level of detail.

  • Rory Blyth: iPhone. I agree in that this was the best presentation of the day. Rory was humorous and engaging and a terrific public speaker. He used repetition and humor masterfully and was able to actually get a nice demo up and running in quite a short amount of time (though he did apparently go over a few minutes on his alloted time).

  • Joel Spolsky: FogBugz 7. I had never actually seen FogBugz live, though I'd read about it extensively on Joel's blog. Like I mentioned earlier, this talk could have worked a lot better had Joel explicitly connected it to some of the points of the keynote. At any rate, the software was very impressive, especially the Evidence Based Scheduling and the Balsamiq plug-in. I wasn't as impressed with the Mercurial Plug-In, as it basically still required you to have to do quite a bit from the command line. The code-review feature was also really nice.

  • Boudin's: Lunch. Awesome. Free. Yum.

  • Scott Hanselman: ASP.NET MVC. So, while Scott was actually an excellent speaker and very engaging and personable, I was a bit disappointed by this talk. Essentially, I felt he rushed through this talk in an effort to go deep into certain topics (he mentioned that this was an intentional correction due to feedback from Joel), but I really feel that it detracted from the talk. Basically, it was 50 minutes of rapid-fire Visual Studio wizardry, peppered with a few humorous anecdotes. A nice side-effect of the talk was getting to see the new Visual Studio. I was pretty impressed with Microsoft's efforts to open-source ASP.NET MVC, and to incorporate jQuery into it and contribute to it.

  • Jeff Atwood: Stack Overflow. This was another highlight for me, as I've always found Jeff to be both highly entertaining and insightful. However, it was mercifully short. For being "Stack Overflow DevDays" the amount of time spent on StackOverflow-related topics seemed excessively short. Joel Briefly mentioned "Careers" during one of this talks, and while Jeff's talk was great, it was much too short. It would have also been nice to have Geoff and Jarrod speak, and perhaps walk through some of the interesting source bits in Stack Overflow development.

  • Daniel Rocha: Qt. I could tell that this wasn't going to go well as soon as the talk started with a bribe of Nokia phones to those who paid attention. I was not disappointed. This was very painful. Daniel spent the whole time talking about how Qt was going to be the Silver Bullet to solve the issue of having to port your source to multiple platforms, except for the fact that he couldn't even get his "Hello World"-ish application to look correctly on the three target platforms he demoed (Windows, Linux, Symbian) without making modifications, and mentioning how you needed to resort to macros to get a lot of the cross-platform functionality to work correctly. He didn't even showcase the targeting of the Mac platform, which would have been the most compelling part of the presentation for me, had he done so. In general, the whole time I felt like it was 1991 and I was listening to a poor talk about MFC, in which I would be rewarded with a copy of Microsoft Bob if I paid attention and was able to regurgitate some Nokia marketing speak at the end. Embarrassingly, a couple of people at the end of the talk were indeed rewarded with Nokia phones for parroting back a few things.

  • James Yum: Android. So in James' defense, he was apparently blind-sided by the fact that he had to give this talk a few days ago after a cancellation, and seemed to be quite nervous and young. However, all that being said, this was also quite painful and slightly embarrassing. After playing an Android commercial, and extolling the virtues of "Threadz!!!!", James went on to stumble his way through a demo in a painful manner. He was pleading with his compiler for things to work and asking the audience for help. At one point he even said "Oh well, your loss" when something didn't work as it should have. It was almost as if Daniel and James' talks were done by Apple moles who were planted to prove all of the points Rory made during his presentation about why the iPhone is by far the most compelling platform to develop for. I asked James a question echoing Joel's concern about multi-threaded programming being a recipe for generating very difficult bugs to find and correct, and if there was any way the Android platform could help you with this, and he didn't really seem to have an answer.

  • Yehuda Katz: jQuery. Very informative talk. While Yehuda wasn't as compelling or engaging a speaker as Rory, Jeff, or Joel, his talk was quite good and very informative. I think he suffered somewhat for being at the end of the day, when most people's attention spans were drifting quite a bit. His examples were easy to understand, and well done.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable day, and definitely worth the attendance price. However, as I stated earlier I could have done with a lot more Stack Overflow-related material. As a bonus, I think the majority of attendees went home with handfuls of FogBugz pads, pens, and lots of stickers.

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Ya, I was disappointed in my talk also. While I appreciated Joel's comments, he got me all paranoid and I was off for the first 20 minutes. I should have listened to my gut. I will do better in Seattle. Thanks for the feedback! –  Scott Hanselman Oct 21 '09 at 8:41
    
"... Joe's presentation ..."? –  Peter Mortensen Oct 21 '09 at 11:45
    
scott, you had by far the best presentation. it was the only one that touched on actual programming architecture. most of them didnt talk about code, they were just selling some software. the python one was ok, but it focused on syntax. who cares about syntax? shouldnt we be learning about new paradigms and architectures at conferences? also it was highly professional and entertaining. dont sweat it! –  Shawn Oct 22 '09 at 2:11
    
Having just seen you in Seattle and reading this description, I would have to say that you did better there. I enjoyed your presentation in Seattle. –  Steve Rowe Oct 22 '09 at 8:13
    
What a fantastic summary. I could not say it better myself except to add that is was PROFOUNDLY disappointed by the Android presentation. Google needs to do better than that. They are playing catch-up with the iPhone and they did NOT excite me to shift my development energies from iPhone to Android. –  user137864 Oct 26 '09 at 15:58

My reviews:

Joel Spolsky, Keynote: I thought the video at startup was hilarious, although there were definitely instances of programmers-are-not-actors in the video (specifically the awkward laugh before commanding the guys to run laps). The presentation was pretty good, although it seemed to take a few long detours and scenic routes to get where it was going. I don't know that I'd agree with the argument that elegant code is code that does more than it looks like it's possible to do. Personally I like the suspension bridge better than the other one. In programming, the most important part is the readability of the code. If a programmer can't figure out how the code works, then they have no hope of fixing any problems that come up. I guess this is same as the question that was asked about "when does elegance stop and obfuscation begin?" I definitely agree that less code doing the same amount of work is more elegant than more code doing the same amount of work, as long as it's still readable.

Mark Harrison, Python: I like that this presentation wasn't just a "hello world." I don't necessarily like that it seems like it was written in a functional way, because I'm not sure all python programs are written that way. There were probably some slightly longer ways to create the insertions/deletions/substitutions that didn't involve a super-functional method of doing it, and would be simpler to explain.

Rory Blyth, iPhone: To me, this presentation basically said "here's all the crappy stuff apple makes you do to write apps for the iPhone. Oh, and you have to buy a mac too." I had listened to his appearance on the DotNetRocks podcast, and this presentation was pretty similar. I was pretty impressed that the IDE wasn't as terrible as I had heard. I also enjoyed the ending, where he showed how awesome MonoTouch is, but would've preferred a little bit more in depth on it. Rory was definitely the most animated person on stage, and was very good at using dry humour to get laughs.

Lunch advertisers: I walked in towards the end of this, but it seemed like it was basically "here's the cool stuff we're working on, and we're really awesome, and if you join us, you'll make tons of money." A bit too much head-hunterism, if that's the right way to say what I thought of it, but it was neat to look at the cool pictures. And the guy kept saying "this works a lot better on a big monitor" during his demo. A better demo would have been something that worked on the 1024x768 monitor, but I'm sure they figured that out by now.

Joel Spolsky, FogBugz 7: I was really impressed by the demonstration. Of course, right now I'm using some pretty sub-par solutions, so anything better looks great. The kiln integration looked great to link the code to the bug tracking/code reviews. Hopefully we can convince management to go for it

Scott Hanselman, ASP.NET MVC: It seems like Scott has done a lot of presentations, and it shows from this presentation on MVC. He kind of jumped around a lot, and assumed everyone knew web programming/MVC, but we're an advanced crowd. Again, I'm kind of looking forward to moving some stuff to ASP.NET MVC, due to some bad experiences with PHP, and my love of C# from desktop applications.

Jeff Atwood, Stack Overflow: I was a little underwhelmed by this presentation. It was enjoyable, but it seemed like it was lacking depth. I can't really explain it in words though, but I was probably just expecting too much.

Daniel Rocha, Qt: The Qt presentation (cue-tee is how I've always said it in my brain) was definitely the weakest of the day for me. Yes, it's kind of cool that you can make portable apps, but really, you shouldn't. At least, not in the way it's done here. I can think of at least three reasons off the top of my head.

  • C++: Not only it's c++, but it's a hacked up pre-processed version of c++. I've had enough weird versions of c to last me a lifetime with working on embedded processors. There's always something wrong with them. Also, I think Java does a much better job of the portability without hacky things like macros. And I don't really like Java that much.
  • The uncanny valley: Even though Qt uses native widgets, it's always going to feel slightly wrong. A pixel too far left here, a slightly different battleship gray there, and it adds up to your brain telling you something's wrong.
  • Asymmetric interfaces: Developing for a mac and windows may result in similar programs, but a windows program and a phone application should not be the same interface. A file menu on a phone? Seriously?

I guess the fact that he's speaking on something that's not really relevant to me as a person shouldn't mean the presentation was bad, but it was presented sloppily as well.

James Yum, Android: I'll be an out-lier, and say that I enjoyed this presentation. Not as much as some of the others, but it wasn't the worst. I think that the first part of the presentation could've been a little shorter, and dove right into the code a little faster. I will give credit for him going into a more advanced topic that might show weakness in the platform. He could've just as easily done a "hello world" app like Rory did, and probably done it equally as fast. However, as an audience, I think we benefited more because the concerns on android are felt on other platforms as well. Pretty much everything he had to deal with was the same exact stuff you have to do when using threads in c# both winforms as well as WPF, and for the same reasons (there is only one UI thread).

For the people that are giving him flak because of the fact that android kills and restarts your app when changing orientation, it also does it when doing other things, like switching tasks (gmail notification), and when the phone rings. Just like the iPhone, except you can continue running when other tasks happen. To me, that's a feature, not a problem.

Also, he seemed to be relatively inexperienced giving presentations compared to Rory giving the iPhone presentation (which he's done several times now), so that should count for something. And there were a lot of android phones representing in the audience, which was kind of surprising to me. I thought I was in the minority of android users compared to iPhone users.

Yehuda Katz, jQuery: This was a good presentation. I liked that it had something for people new to jQuery, as well as gave some insight for those that have used it. While I wouldn't call myself an expert, I've used it in the past, and I got a lot out of the history of the project.

Microsoft: I was hoping they would give away win7 instead of ram :(

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There were eight speakers and each topic was interesting. I'll definitely try to go again next year. I've already added some of the speakers to my RSS fire hose.

Joel Spolsky - Keynote

Joel started out with a great exploration of the software design tug-of-war between simplicity and power. He examined several excruciating techniques for interrupting users with complicated questions that they're not qualified to answer.

He also derided the "keep it simple" approach that many software companies take when avoiding new features because new features lead to more revenue. This was a pretty pointed critique of 37signals' approach to building software. There are always reasonable features that could be added that would provide real value to the user.

Bottom line, he suggests that you add features that give users power over what they care about and eliminate (or hide) all other features that may interrupt the user with something they don't care about.

He also showed a pretty hilarious video they made at FogCreek, where he's shown as the world's most insulting boss and Jeff Atwood likes playing with his cat.

Mark Harrison (Pixar) - Python

Mark introduced everyone to a little bit of Python by showing a one-page spelling checker written by Peter Norvig. He described the concept of elegance in code with a little definition: "when it looks like there isn't enough code to do the task".

This talk was pretty technical and went long, but was a great exploration of how terse and still understandable Python can get. However, I think some of the audience were getting a little tired toward the end of the code walk-through.

Someone asked a great question: "When does elegance stop and obfuscated begin?" Mark agreed that the example is more terse than is standard for Python.

Apparently Pixar embeds Python into its tools to do things that used to be done by linking specialized C libraries.

Rory Blythe - iPhone Development

It's interesting to see a talk about iPhone development by a person who doesn't work for Apple. He said some things that would be blasphemous at the Fruit Factory. Anyway, it was a good talk, but it was a basic "Here's the iPhone" talk.

He did get into MonoTouch at the end, which was very cool and certainly raised some eyebrows about how much less code it took to accomplish the same stuff than Objective-C.

I think Rory needs to go get DemoMonkey and stop typing so much. :-)

Also, here's a link to the Secrets PrefPane.

Joel Spolsky - FogBugzz

Joel took the stage again to pitch the newest version of FogBugz, which I have to say is very cool. It's got an extensive set of plugins and apparently, 7.1 now runs on linux under Mono. He showed a pretty cool commercial plugin called Balsamiq Mockups, which is integrated with FogBugz.

He also showed the newest extension to the FogBugz family: Kiln. Kiln is basically a hosted Mercurial infrastructure that hooks into FogBugz on Demand (the hosted version) and provides both DVCS code hosting as well as code review support.

Scott Hanselman - Microsoft

Scott talked about ASP.NET MVC as well as the new version of Visual Studio 2010. I was pleasantly surprised and it made me want to go check out the great work that Microsoft has done in this space. Also, that ASP.NET MVC is open source (albeit under a Microsoft open source license).

It definitely feels like they've taken a lot of the great ideas from things like Ruby on Rails and integrated them into ASP.NET MVC (really, they need a better name), especially RoR's approach to convention over configuration. The IDE adapted itself very nicely to just dropping in new templating code.

He also showed a demo of something called "T4MVC.cs", which basically walked around the solution looking for "magic strings" and replacing them with symbols that were then picked up by IntelliSense. Very cool.

I feel like Scott was the best speaker at this conference. He had a fantastic blend of humor, showmanship, and a genuine passion for what he's currently evangelizing. He also showed a distinctly non-Microsoft interest in eliciting feedback from the audience about how ASP.NET MVC compares to other leading web frameworks out in the open source world.

There's also a pretty nifty way to get several common web apps up and running quickly on the Microsoft platform by using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.

He also pointed out NerdDinner.com, whose tagline is "Organizing the world's nerds and helping them eat in packs."

Jeff Atwood - StackOverflow

Jeff took the stage to talk about StackOverflow itself and the hardware and software it runs on as well as the monitoring tools that they use.

Apart from the entire Microsoft ASP.NET stack, some of the things they use: Cacti, CruiseControl.NET, and HAProxy.

He also recommended a book that I'm already half-way through: Coders at Work by Peter Seibel. I definitely agree. Each of the interviews in this book is excellent and each has made me think about a new aspect of how I go about my job.

Jeff advocated for one of my favorite things for large-scale web apps, which is comprehensive logging, gathering, and inspection for errors. He feels that no serious web app should be built until this is in place. I definitely agree.

He also mentioned the High Scalability Blog.

Daniel Rocha - Qt

Daniel gave a talk about Qt, which is a cross-platform C++ GUI toolkit that targets both desktop and mobile platforms (Linux, Windows, Mac, Win CE, Symbian, Maemo). It's a technological marvel and seems to have a lot of utility.

It looks pretty cool, but it smacks of the general problem of building a cross-platform UI toolkit, which is that it has to make sacrifices which are not generally acceptable to end users. It's all well and good to have a single codebase that can port to multiple platforms, but it's likely that it won't be accepted by folks who expect things to work for their platform.

If the iPhone and Mac are any indication, event the slightest deviation from accepted norms is a pebble in your shoe.

Daniel gave away a couple of Nokia handsets in his segment.

James Yum - Google Android

James was filling in for someone else who had been scheduled to give the Android talk, and I think he did a great job on short notice. However, I have to question the original speaker's choice of topics, which was essentially "Pitfalls with Threading in Android".

I'm used to iPhone demos, which are all about making it seem that the iPhone SDK is so easy a gibbering idiot could make an app for the phone that sells a gazillion copies and make him rich. Apple rarely calls out difficulties in developing for their platforms, and if they do, they hide it within a whiz-bang demo. Everything that comes out of the Fruit Factory is presented as milk and honey.

It's maybe just a cultural difference, but I can't understand why Google would decide to give a talk about how difficult it is to develop for Android.

Unfortunately, I think this was the weakest of the talks this day.

Yehuda Katz - jQuery

Yehuda ended the day with a fantastic talk about jQuery. It seems like it's the leading JavaScript framework these days. Even VS.NET MVC will be bundling jQuery in the upcoming version.

I like the trend towards "unobtrusive JavaScript" and jQuery certainly fits the bill. It seems to be the winner of "Survivor: JavaScript Framework".

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Thanks very much! I appreciate the kind words. –  Scott Hanselman Oct 21 '09 at 8:40

From my blog entry about DevDays:

I didn't know what to expect from StackOverflow DevDays, and I was pleasantly surprised.

In a nutshell, the presenters showed the basics of several different programming environments, but it was anything other than "Language X 101." This was top-gun coders showing the pros and cons of their particular language, taking very sharp questions from very sharp audience members, and being frankly honest about the things you need to know before you start programming with it.

Some of the sessions included:

  • Mark Harrison on Python - showed off a one-page Python spellchecker with "did-you-mean" style autocorrection
  • Rory Blyth on iPhone development - showed the rather intimidating side of the development IDE
  • Scott Hanselman on ASP.NET MVC - showed how Visual Studio 2010 is catching up with other MVC implementations
  • Daniel Rocha on Nokia's Qt - showed that yes, cross-platform apps are still vying for Miss Congeniality
  • James Yum on Android - showed why building properly threaded applications can still be rocket science

My first reaction was that I'm really glad I'm not a developer anymore. Database administration seems a lot easier to me than some of this development work. After building your Android app, for example, you have to test it against all kinds of different screen resolutions, screen densities, portrait vs landscape, etc - oh, and by the way, if you flip between portrait and landscape, Android may just restart your app. Y'know, to be safe. Wow. Suddenly, $.99 for phone apps sounds even cheaper, and I'm even more impressed with apps like Layar.

The presentations are still rapidly evolving based on attendee feedback. Some of the presenters mentioned that they'd radically revised their presentation level (beginner vs expert) after feedback from earlier #DevDays events, so your mileage may vary.

Microsoft threw in a surprise: they sent someone with boxloads of 2 gig laptop memory chips and a screwdriver kit. Anybody whose laptop wasn't already maxed out with memory could swing by Microsoft's table and get it upgraded - free. Now that's my kind of schwag. (As it happens, mine was already maxed out.) There were several jabs suggesting they were doing it as a pre-emptive strike because Visual Studio 2010 must be some kind of memory pig, but it was all in good fun.

I'd recommend DevDays to programmers at any level. If nothing else, you'll see that the grass isn't any greener for programmers of other languages.

Best of all, I finally got to meet the StackOverflow crew in person - Jeff Atwood (Blog - Twitter), Geoff Dalgas (Blog - Twitter), and Jarrod Dixon (Twitter), good guys all. (I'm just now realizing I didn't track down Joel, although I did meet Babak.)

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From the other DevDays reviews my expectation was that it would be like a 'tasting menu' of different technologies and I wasn't disappointed. I was mostly interested in learning more about things I don't ordinarily use--in this case: MonoTouch, Android, and ASP.NET. I was looking forward to hearing Miguel De Icaza talk about MonoTouch, but unfortunately he wasn't on the schedule in SF.

ASP.NET's presenter was the most entertaining of the day, even though the technology did nothing to convince me to switch away from Python.

The Android presentation really could use some work -- let's leave it at that.

Everybody else did a pretty good job of showing off the technology and a glimpse at the development environment and tools around it.

I really liked Joel's examples of simplicity. Came home and told my wife about the MP3-player and the need for 'pause' vs 'stop' buttons. She was scratching her head too.

It was an interesting conference. I liked the smorgasbord approach, but I think maybe if it continues that it would do better if it was converted to an unconference with speakers presenting for maybe 15 minutes and then opening it up to audience discussions. There was a lot of technically competent people there. Be a damn shame to let all that expertise go untapped.

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My own favorite topics were in the following order of fun/usefulness level:

  • iPhone (though I'm interested in Android development myself but it's always good to check out the competition) - it was fun and not boring. Quirky, jittery, OCD all come to mind.
  • Joel's keynote (Hi, Joel, I'm @ArtemR ) - I welcome the discussion of simple vs feature rich, though Joel has talked about this on his blog multiple times.
  • jQuery - nice intro into history of jQuery and competition with other frameworks. The technical level of specific examples was quite basic.
  • Android - this is the topic I'm mostly interested in and unfortunately the main speaker got substituted by a guy who has obviously not presented in front of a large crowd before (sorry, I have to criticize - you'll do better and better each time! Just don't worry so much and know your stuff) and was pretty much a recent college grad from the looks of it. He did a pretty decent job at making the code run but a really poor job of marketing and explaining Android's weaknesses and strengths, as some people on twitter pointed out.
  • StackOverflow review - quite brief but fun. Thanks Jeff!
  • Python - very odd that it was even there - just a look at a few lines of code from the infamous Python google-like suggest algorithm.
  • Qt - didn't really care for it but sat through it. Nokia, meh. Next!
  • ASP.NET, Fogbugz - I skipped as I didn't care much for those

Overall, I feel like the information presented in all sessions was pretty basic but I guess that was the idea - a little bit of everything for everyone.

The absence of WiFi was pretty disappointing as I think it was advertised but I didn't care much for it. Kept everyone more concentrated anyway.

The free memory upgrades by Microsoft was an AWESOME move (though mine is already at 4GB and they didn't give out 4GB sticks)!

Lunch was decent - Boudin. Lots of drinks and snacks.

Well worth $99.

Cross-posted to beerpla.net.

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